Suzanne C. Schmidt
Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.
This course examines the construction of the immigrant in relationship to the citizen in the United States. In particular, we will read fiction, short stories, law, hip-hop music and film to think about how both of these figures, immigrant and citizen, are historically determined, socially constructed, fluid and yet also highly rigid. This class offers the opportunity to think about how literature functions as an alternative site for narrating history, a place to imagine new futures, and a critique of various institutions (like citizenship). We will ask how literature helps to define and contest the commonsense understandings of citizens and immigrants and the boundary drawn between them. Similarly, we will think about how law operates as a medium for creating fiction through the invention of such terms as "alien ineligible for citizenship," "national origin" and "permanent resident". Critical readings will provide a framework for considering how cultural texts help to define who, when, why and how one may be a citizen. We will work on close reading skills and practice developing strong claims in our writing through reading, discussing and writing about literature.
Primary texts include: Castillo, Ana. So Far from God. 1993 Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories. 1991 (selections, available in the course reader) Ng, Fae Myenne. Bone. 1994 Okada, John. No-No Boy. 1957
There is also a required course reader that will be available for purchase beginning the first day of class.
Student learning goals
Student-driven exploration of the course content.
Connecting historical and theoretical readings to literary texts.
Individual and group exploration of different methods of reading, discussion, and critical writing.
General method of instruction
The method of instruction is designed to promote active learning, with most class sessions incorporating a mix of mini-lectures, discussion, and group work. Student participation in small and large group discussion is essential to the success of this course.
It is recommended that you have already completed the University's Composition (C) requirement. It is also recommended that you seriously consider your ability to show up on time and be alert and active at 8:30 am before enrolling in this class!
Class assignments and grading
This class fulfills the University's W-requirement. In doing so, students will be required to write a series of shorter 2-3 page papers that build up to one longer essay of 10-12 pages. All writing will be subject to various forms of peer and instructor review. The workload also includes a group presentation. This class is primarily discussion based and daily participation will constitute a significant amount of the total grade.